After a wedding speech by Harry that guests said moved people to tears, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex travelled to their evening reception at Frogmore House.
Meghan changed from her Clare Waight Keller ceremony gown into a soft white bespoke halter neck dress by Stella McCartney, made of silk crepe. Harry swapped his military uniform for a black tuxedo.
Kensington Palace said: ‘The Bride is wearing shoes from Aquazzura made in silky satin, with nude mesh, with soles painted in baby blue.’
George Northwood styled her hair, into an updo again, but this time more relaxed.
The second dress was a hit on Twitter, with some saying it was even better than Meghan’s first gown.
Meghan is known to be a fan of the ethical British designer, she wore one of the designers dresses last month.
The dress was in line with Meghan’s simple, sleek style of her first dress, with a completely different neckline.
Enormous trains make cutting shapes on the dance floor pretty difficult so it’s standard for royal brides to change into a second dress later in the day.
Kate swapped her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding gown for a simpler dress for her evening reception in 2011.
But while Kate went for ivory satin for her second gown of the day, also by Sarah Burton, Meghan stuck with white, ‘lily white’ according to Kensington Palace.
Kate’s neckline was sweetheart, a classic in bridal wear, while Meghan’s high halter neckline is a bit more edgy and modern while still having a thoroughly regal feel to it.
Meghan kept it as plain as her first dress, but Kate’s Burton gown said ‘evening party’ in a different way, with a bit of sparkle in the embellished waistline.
Kate’s style is pretty demure so it was no surprise that she covered her shoulders and arms with a white angora bolero cardigan.
Meghan’s second dress though was all about her shoulders and arms.
Harry drove his new wife in a silver blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero with the number plate E190518, the date of their wedding.
One of the more cringe-worthy moments in the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, about the struggles of aspiring-journalist Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway, working for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor of fictional Runway magazine, happens in the office cafeteria.
Andy observes to art director Nigel, played by the amazing Stanley Tucci, that all the other girls at the magazine don’t eat anything. He says, “Not since two became the new four and zero became the new two.” Andy answers that she is a size six, to which he quips, “Which is the new fourteen.”
Shame on the fat-shaming industry
That in a nutshell is all anyone needs to know about how the fashion industry views its plus-size customers: She simply doesn’t fit. The average American woman wears between a size 16-18, according to research from assistant professor Deborah Christel, at Washington State University’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. She has made it her mission to wake the industry up to its inherent fat biases by teaching a class to expose “weight discrimination as a social justice issue.”
Tim Gunn, long-time chair of fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design, who went on to Liz Claiborne as chief creative officer and then gained famed as mentor on Project Runway, took the industry to task back in 2016 in a Washington Post op-ed. “Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace,” he wrote.
Demand for all-inclusive sizing
The industry has been slow to learn the lesson, but finally it is taking Gunn’s message to heart. Nordstrom is now expanding its plus-size selections to include 100 brands and integrating them in with its core size range, rather than segregating it into a separate “Woman’s” department, where the shopper is reminded that she doesn’t belong where the real fashion is.
The company, however, said it will still maintain a separate plus-size department for convenience, but its “size-inclusive” initiative will give size 14 shoppers access to the same styles as her size 2 shopping companion. “In our opinion, petite and plus sizes shouldn’t be considered special categories. They’re just sizes,” a company statement said. Now Nordstrom shoppers can select from extended size offerings from inclusive brands like Topshop, Rag & Bone, Theory and J. Crew’s Madewell on the same rack.
Specialty fashion retailer Express is also broadening its range of sizes from 00 to 18, but only in 130 stores out of its total base of 600 full-priced and factory stores. “What we hear constantly from consumers is the lack of fashion styles in the sizes they need. We are excited to make this first step in the journey toward a more inclusive shopping experience,” the company said in a statement.
And none too soon, with women’s fashion retail sales on a steady decline since 2012. From its zenith of $41.8 billion, it has dropped 5.6% to $39.4 billion in 2017, according to the Census Dept. Monthly Retail Trade Survey.
By contrast, the women’s plus size fashion market is on a roll: up 38% from two years ago, reports Katie Smith, retail analysis & insights director at EDITED, which provides real-time data analytics to the fashion industry. “The plus size market is the fastest-growing segment in the U.S., but it still accounts for 1.6% of the market, which is baffling when you consider 67% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or larger,” she says.
Women know how they want to dress; they don’t need designers to tell them
It is sad that the fashion industry had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the revolutionary idea of size inclusiveness. But the overwhelming majority of women–plus size women–are demanding it. This is a kind of disruption that the industry can actually respond to proactively, if it only is willing to embrace the new image of the modern woman.
“For too long, the industry has been entirely blinded to the fact that a consumer can be plus size and passionate about high-quality clothing and have the money to shop for it,” Smith says. “Social media has helped fuel discussion around inclusivity, acceptance and is challenging old stereotypes. The Gen Y and Z consumers are far more open-minded and inclusive than any other consumer before them. And their impact on luxury, advertising and beauty has been, and will continue to be, enormous. The increased body-positivity these consumers are creating is finally hooking the fashion industry.”
The fashion industry is now in the unfamiliar, and for many the uncomfortable position of following rather than leading the consumer. “No longer is the fashion industry able to push its agenda onto consumers, instead consumers are pulling the industry forward.”
Plus puts new demands on designers
Besides the fact that plus-size women don’t look like the women many fashion designers want to dress, designing plus-sized clothing requires greater expertise and awareness of how to dress the real woman’s body, not designers’ favorite 6-foot-tall, size-00 model.
“This is a design failure and not a customer issue,” Gunn wrote in his 2016 op-ed. “There is no reason larger women
1can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape.”
Speaking to the design challenges, and opportunities, of dressing the plus-size woman, Kim Camarella-Khanbeigi, founder of Kiyonna and an early pioneer in plus-size fashion, says, “The fit is science,” she says. “You can’t just grade up and expect the style to flatter and fit the same.” She started Kiyonna in 1996 to serve the specialty retail market and moved online in 1999. Today her brand is carried by 250 stores nationwide, as well as being available on its own website, Amazon and Zappos. Kiyonna also operates a flagship store called the Upstairs Boutique in Anaheim.
“What’s ready for disruption is the stereotypes about the curvy customer. Styled right and wearing something that fits, she exudes attractiveness,” Camarella-Khanbeigi says, as she notes the business opportunity to dress the curvy woman is great and growing. “There is a beautiful, curvy customer counting on it.”
The look of luxury in plus size
To date, luxury brands and retailers have been the most resistant to embracing the plus-size woman. Smith reports EDITED data shows that only about 0.1% of the luxury and premium market is plus sized. “What luxury brands don’t seem to pay attention to is that plus-size shoppers are already their customers, be it of their beauty, perfume, footwear, accessories or leather goods lines, rather than apparel,” Smith says.
While it is true that affluent women are less likely than lower-income women to be plus sized, it is safe to assume that at least 25-33% or more of the nation’s affluent women don’t fit into the luxury industry’s standard 0-12 size range. The latest available data from the CDC on women’s obesity levels by income confirms this, with its finding that over one-fourth of the highest-income women (specifically women with household incomes 350% above poverty level) are classified as obese (BMI of 30 or higher) and that isn’t even counting women who are simply overweight.
Gucci for one has paid attention and offers an increasing range of styles in large and XL sizes. It will also help Nordstrom fill its racks as it broadens its plus-size offerings. Smith advises the rest of the luxury industry to wake up. The plus-size luxury fashion market is growing and these women have the means and desires to dress as fashionably as her size 0 counterpart.
“Plus-size celebrities and influencers now have very visible global platforms for voicing their frustrations with an industry that can’t dress them. With social attitudes towards inclusivity shifting rapidly, luxury brands don’t want to lag in this opportunity,” Smith declares.
Kate Middleton joined Prince William and the soon-to-be-newlyweds Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for a wedding rehearsal in Windsor. While this marked the duchess’s first public drive through town since giving birth to baby Louis, she appeared bright — and that probably had something to do with her dress.
Kate chose a lovely floral Michael Michael Kors shirtdress ($175) for the occasion, which is a breezy number that was probably pretty comfortable for the day’s agenda. The duchess accessorized with oversize Givenchy sunglasses.
While Meghan opted for an ivory bodysuit blouse and gorgeous diamonds to prepare for the ceremony, Kate’s laid-back, free-spirited outfit is definitely our speed this time of year. Read on for another glimpse, then check out Kate’s exact design and shop plenty of similar looks.
Kate’s Exact Michael Michael Kors Dress
Saloni Izzie Dress
Saloni Molly Dress
Lane Bryant Faux Surplice Maxi Dress
Borgo De Nor Sonia Dress
City Chic Trendy Plus Size Floral-Print Maxi Dress
Zara Crossed Dress
H&M Pleated Dress
H&M Chiffon Dress
Marchesa Notte Guipure Lace Cocktail Dress
Daoroka Sexy Floral Maxi
Fortunately, 10 years have passed since the movie was first released, and things are looking up for style-starved maids. The bridal world now takes its cues from the runways, with fashion trends inspiring not only bridal designers but big brands and high-profile talents to create collections specifically for this lucrative market.
“The bridesmaid category has become a lot more exciting. When we started in 2011 bridesmaid dresses were very standardised and consisted of one fabric – usually chiffon – and a limited colour palette of pastels. Now designers and brides are borrowing trends from ready-to-wear and thinking outside the traditional box,” says Cecile Chen, founder of Trinity Bridal.
Take for example, Hong Kong bride Feiping Chang, whose storybook wedding in Capri was covered by high-profile publications such as Vogue. Instead of cookie-cutter bridesmaid gowns, she opted for various styles designed by friend and Self Portrait designer Han Chong.
“I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear white, which most people tend to shy away from. Together we chose a selection of styles that would fit each girl’s body as well as their personal style. So overall, the dresses looked consistent but each was something unique that they could also wear again,” says Chang.
While individuality is important for modern bridesmaids, so are trends. Many are experimenting with fun prints like the patchwork florals popularised by British designer Richard Quinn while silhouettes have transitioned from conservative Grecian styles to the more fashionable cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder looks. When it comes to colour, many brides tend to err on the side of caution and opt for pastels, but there is also a return to bold shades such as yellow and blue.
Location also plays a role in determining bridesmaid dresses. Traditional venues such as hotels are becoming less popular thanks to the emergence of destination weddings. Exotic, off-the-beaten track locales have allowed bridesmaids to do away with formal styles and opt for fun and fresh looks instead.
“I usually advise destination bridesmaids to mix and match dresses with varied and multi-dimensional aesthetics. Colour choices can also be more modern and include navy, dove grey or even black. Instead of a flowy dress, you can experiment with jumpsuits and more structured dresses which look more contemporary,” advises Jacqueline Au, founder and creative director of The Loft Bridal.
A demand for more modern styles has also meant that brides can explore beyond the usual stable of specialised brands and opt for creations by ready-to-wear fashion brands like Needle & Thread and Caroline Constans. While purchasing off-the-rack can be tricky when you have larger groups to dress, it still opens a whole new world of possibilities in terms of fashion choices.
“Popular brands include Self Portrait and Red Valentino for entry-level price point while Zimmerman is ideal for a summer garden party type wedding. Valentino, Rochas, Erdem all offer beautiful dresses that could work for a bridesmaid. For more traditional dresses, Elie Saab and Maria Lucia Hohan are great,” says Suzanne Pendlebury, buying manager at matchesfashion.com.
Another easy way to inject a modern touch to your bridesmaid look is through accessories such as jewellery, hair pieces and shoes, all of which add a touch of personality and an element of surprise.
“Sometimes when you follow runway trends the photos can look out of date after a few years. I would still keep the dress refined but play with jewellery, be it chunky bold pieces a la Celine or maximalist Gucci-style with layers of pearls and crystals. Even if you are stuck wearing a cookie-cutter dress, you are able to inject a bit of your own personality through accessories,” says Au.
A final note of caution to all bridesmaids. While looking good may be your top priority, it’s not necessarily the bride’s. Avoid a Pippa Middleton situation and keep your choices stylish yet discreet. Your big day will come eventually.
Spring/summer 2018 runway trends perfect for bridesmaids
Ruffles: Velvet dress (HK$3,500) by Self Portrait from Lane Crawford.
Vintage florals: Long patchwork dress (HK$499) from Zara.
Bold colours: Rope detail silk satin gown (HK$16,625) by Roksanda from matchesfashion.com.
Embellishments: Andromeda ruffled embellished tulle gown (HK$4,810) by Needle & Thread from Net-a-Porter.
Sheer: Rosetta lace dress (HK$5,500) from S.Nine by Susanna Soo.
Thought the $5.8 billion global wearable technology market was all about wristbands? Wrong.
Pauline Van Dongen is one of Europe’s leaders in the field and says the future is about so much more than your smartwatch.
Apple fans may be “stuck in a device paradigm”, but cutting-edge innovators are all about the potential of smart clothes, the designer explains.
“The next transition is to embed technology into textiles, like we do in our studio, and to look at the materials from a material and aesthetic point of view, not only from a functional perspective.”
Big brands are climbing on board
In Europe, fashion houses like Britain’s CuteCircuit and Berlin’s ElektroCouture have forged ahead of this curve. Now, big tech businesses have started taking note too (in recent years Google has made a smart jacket with Levi’s, while Samsung designed its own NFC suit).
And it’s Pauline Van Dongen’s studio in the Netherlandsthat’s breaking boundaries for some of the world’s most prominent brands.
It has worked with everyone from the $28.9 billionelectronics giant Philips to fast-growing non-latex condom company Skyn, a line that belongs to the $600 million Lifestyles Healthcare—and many publically undisclosed brands too.
Van Dongen projects typically cost from €2,000 to €100,000 (around $2,500–$123,000), with many often being run at the studio at the same time.
“By creating these projects, we generate a lot of value, whether that’s actual products partners can sell, insights into new materials and processes, or PR value,” says the designer.
As you might expect, some of Van Dongen’s many groundbreaking designs have sprung from partnerships with existing fashion innovators.
For example, last year, the studio worked with Italdenim, a sustainable jeans pioneer founded in 1974 in Arconate, a small village near Milan.
“I particularly wanted to work with denim fabric because it’s a material that everyone can identify with – everyone has a piece of denim in their wardrobe,” Van Dongen says of the collaboration.
Motivated by a desire to make technology “more human” and “mindful”, the studio developed Issho: a jacket that uses senses if you’re constantly reaching for your phone, and gives a physical response back to the wearer.
“The jacket talks to you by giving you a gentle stroke on your upper back, inviting you to be more in the present moment,” Van Dongen explains.
The studio has also worked with sustainable Dutch fashion retailer Blue Loop Originals to create a solar-powered windbreaker. It’s today worn by tour guides of Germany’s Wadden Sea Society to help them stay charged and better assist their visitors.
“It invites you to go outside and be in the sunshine to harness your own energy,” says Van Dongen.
Quite evidently, technology brands also have much to offer to the booming wearable textiles scene too. And it was Philips’ understanding of the world of electronics that supercharged Van Dongen’s Mesopic and Phototrope sportswear designs.
Disappointed by her own experience of running at night with a “ridiculous” light-up bracelet, the designer worked with Philips to come up with a savvier solution.
In its latest form, the studio’s light-up jerseys even include interactive controls to allows sports trainers to alter light colors and enable specific games and activities.
“Our tops integrate lighting from a functional perspective, but also as a new type of aesthetic, just like we’d use any other kind of material,” Van Dongen explains.
“It creates playfulness,” she adds.
With such a wide range of companies keen to explore wearables, choosing who to collaborate with can be a challenge, but the Pauline Van Dongen studio won’t be “misled” by money, says its founder.
And—as long as Van Dongen believes in the creative integrity of a project—no area is off-limits.
Indeed, the studio jumped at the opportunity to work with condom company Skyn, where it explored how the business’s latex-free materials could benefit athletes.
“Of course we wanted to avoid created a ‘condom suit’,” says Van Dongen. “That was one of the bigger challenges, not to make something that would look silly and make people laugh.”
The designer succeeded, instead creating an impressive outfit with aerodynamic flaps that open to give long jump athletes extra time in the air.
Partnerships that empower
Many more of Van Dongen’s projects are socially-motivated.
One collaboration with the Dutch wearable business Elitac saw the creation of the FysioPal top: a garment that not only records data around back posture, but uses small vibration motors to give haptic feedback to correct it.
Similarly, the studio’s Vigour cardigan—a collaboration with Technical University Eindhoven, Martijn ten Bhömer and Textile Museum Tilburg—is about empowering the elderly.
Made of soft Merino wool, it has sensors that help those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia convey their activity levels to healthcare workers.
“Our garments are already on our bodies, what’s a more intimate way to communicate that via skin?” Van Dongen asks.
The future of fashion
Today, if you’re dreaming of slipping into one of Van Dongen’s posture correcting cardigans, light-up tops, or solar-powered coats, you might struggle to track one down: at present, the studio largely relies on its partners to bring Van Dongen concepts to market.
But that could be about to change. And Van Dongen says her studio may set up its own sales channel “in the near future.”
To really move the market, however, far greater cross-industry collaboration is needed between designers, manufacturers, brands and technologists, says Van Dongen: “Otherwise we’re all stuck on our own little islands without building upon each of our expertise.”
Are you ready for futures wearables without a wristband in sight?
The dress of the summer isn’t by a famous high street brand, nor is it popular because it has been worn by a chart-topping singer or famous actor. The dress everyone wants to get their hands on is by the London-based label Kitri after an influential blogger shared it with her 344,000 Instagram followers.
The £145 Gabriella dress – a green, belted shirt-style garment with a black and white flower print – has amassed ann 800-strong waiting list of 800 people after Charlotte Groeneveld posted a picture on Instagram mid-February as a part of a paid partnership between her and the one-year-old brand. When the dress became available to purchase on Kitri’s website a month later, almost 200 units sold out in 45 minutes. A new waiting list is now open.
“We’ve worked with influencers before, but I don’t think that we’ve ever garnered this much attention with a dress,” says Kitri’s founder, Haeni Kim. Being a digital-first business allows it to reduce any price mark-up through wholesaling to retailers and eliminate the cost of a standalone store. Kitri retails between £45 for a T-shirt and £225 for a dress.
The hype and subsequent sales of the Gabriella dress suggest that social-media influencers remain a major resource for brands to tap.
Kitri is not alone in tapping into the world of influencers to profitable effect. Matchesfashion.com says its partnership with Leandra Medine Cohen (who has 626,000 followers) on its Shop With initiative produced a notably strong seller after she instagramed a photo of herself wearing a Toga coat. The post received 75,000 likes. Elsewhere, Swedish brand Ganni attributes the sellout of its Banana T-shirt, which shifted 969 units within 10 weeks in 2016, to Instagram influencers such as Pernille Teisbaek (542,000 followers), Lucy Williams (322,000 followers) and Veronika Heilbrunner (158,000 followers) wearing it.
Crucially, says Groeneveld, the secret to its success as a strategy is that it must feel authentic to work.
“I’ve built a community of people who share similar style and like similar things, so in that sense it’s more likely that [my followers] agree with the things I believe we should buy, save, or toss, than from a random person they don’t have that relationship with. The personal relationship is all that matters and gives you all credibility.”
Figures vary for paid partnerships and exact remuneration remains under wraps, but last year a study found 33% of marketers now allocate upwards of $500,000 to influencer marketing and brand partnerships, according to the trend forecasting firm WGSN. Another 2017 study, this time by the Influencer Marketing Hub, found 57% of marketers also have a standalone influencer budget. which, according to Sarah Owen of WGSN, “speaks volumes to the projected relevance this area will continue seeing”.
She adds: “Forward-thinking brands are utilising micro-influencers for Instagram campaigns in order to promote their brand to a wider, yet more targeted audience.”
Kitri is responsive. Its strategy of producing limited quantities of its designs also allows the label to generate additional drops in an agile manner when interest, just like that seen after Groeneveld’s post, picks up, without the risk of leftover stock. Kitri’s 10-person team is “working hard” to restock the Gabriella dress by the end of April or beginning of May, says Kim.
“Influencers democratised aspiration,” says Owen. “Once considered a fleeting marketing tool, the influencer ecosystem has proved to be a longstanding, viable segment for brands seeking to convert likes to sales, all the while increasing brand recognition.”
TRUST Vetements and the brand’s cultish cool to tackle the touchy subject of overproduction heads on. Launching today, four of Harrods’ store windows on Brompton Road will be dedicated to the Swiss label’s call for action. “We have the luxury of being a young, independent brand, which has the opportunity to speak out without being afraid of powerful backers,” its CEO Guram Gvasalia says over coffee in the suite of his Mayfair hotel. “The problem with sustainability today is that people look at it from the wrong perspective. Yes, where you produce and how you produce is super important. But what people are overseeing is something that’s right in front of our eyes: it’s about how much brands produce and how much consumers buy,” the 31-year-old brother of Vetements’ creative director Demna Gvasalia argues. “Since my first-ever interview I’ve been saying this: the basic thing of economics is the supply meeting demand. If you go to a shop and you see something on sale, it means it’s been overproduced.”
Over the past year, Vetements has been highlighting issues of overconsumption, staging waste-focused events at Maxfield in Los Angeles, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and Browns East in London. “But in this age, doing something once or twice isn’t enough. Our phone screens refresh so quickly that our attention spans have shrunk,” Gvasalia quips. He’s devoted the next twelve months to shining a light on the issue of overproduction with plans of fifty events worldwide starting with the windows at Harrods. Unveiled to the public this morning, they feature stockpile installations of clothes donated by Harrods’ four-thousand employees as well as original Parisian donation bins for charity, a regular occurrence on Instagram due to the “Vetements” logo featured on their fronts (simply meaning ‘clothes’). Throughout February, Harrods’ customers are invited to donate their own garments, the proceeds of which go to the NSPPC.
Gvaslia, who has been working on the projects for over a year, says he approached all the big fashion brands asking them to donate their stock. “Nobody wanted to take part. Not a single brand; really huge corporations. Everyone is afraid of admitting that they make more clothes than they can sell.” He spends his year travelling the world, trawling through department stores and boutiques, analysing the stock on display at various points of the season. “I find it particularly hard travelling in the United States during the sale, seeing all these luxury items on extreme discount,” he says. “There are mountains and mountains of clothes that were overproduced. Part of it is sold with huge markdowns, but what’s left becomes dead-stock. Statistically, thirty percent of what brands produce ends up in landfills. Garbage.”
What needs to change, Gvasalia explains, is the pride of the biggest companies in fashion, whose reported gross turnovers can only increase if they sell more merchandise. “At the end of the day, you only have a certain amount of people, who are actually willing to buy your clothes. No matter what you do, this number is limited. So instead, they have their own stores that they force their merchandise upon, just so they can increase their numbers.” In other words, the annual figures reported in designer interviews and reviews shouldn’t always be taken for granted. Nor should they necessarily be a source of pride. “For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand. It’s like throwing away food in a world full of hunger. Our planet is sick because of us, because we want more and more and more, without thinking of generations to come,” he reflects. And it goes for the customer, too. “Try to think, ‘Do I need all these clothes?’”
Gvasalia isn’t a big shopper himself. On this day – as any – he’s clad in his trusty uniform of all-blacks: jeans, a T-shirt and a hoodie. His wardrobe can be counted on a few hands, and whenever he acquires a new item of clothing he donates an old one to a relative. Asked if he publicises Vetements’ turnovers he rolls his eyes. “Of course not. It’s not the main goal. The goal is to create amazing clothes for people who want to buy them.” How do he and his designer brother take responsibility, then? “First of all we don’t have our own stores. Secondly, we don’t push stores with minimums. We’ve started to limit quantities,” Gvasalia says, admitting he sometimes puts a stop to buyers when they try to buy stock beyond their customer demand. “Of course, there are buyers that are amazing. Natalie Kingham bought 250 of our unicorn hoodies,” he says, referring to the buying director of MatchesFashion.com, “and they were gone in a day. But some buyers put debts on pieces that are just insane.”
What of all those coveted, perpetually sold-out it-items we hear about, then? “What brands do – which is very smart – is to limit the online stores, giving one store maybe forty pairs of the hottest sneaker. So of course it sells out,” Gvasalia explains. “I sold four-thousand pairs of sneakers on Ssense.com in four days, but this is not my goal anymore. It breeds greed. I’m not chasing numbers. I don’t need my company to be worth a billion. You can make money like that much more easily outside of fashion.” It’s perhaps an easy thing to say for the owner of a brand like Vetements, which sky-rocketed in sales just a year into their existence, in 2014, shifting hoodies at £600 and denim trousers – sustainably made out of recycled jeans, by the way – at £1200. “Our stuff is expensive because it’s limited,” Gvasalia asserts. “But then people go and buy the high street items that look like our work. I want to tell people: buy less, buy quality and buy long term.”
Last year, Vetements relocated their studios from Paris to Zurich in a move interpreted by some as tax conscious. Gvasalia begs to differ. “We moved the company to Switzerland because I wanted to protect myself from an industry I feel is toxic and wrong. I don’t want to be distracted by the wrong business strategies. I moved the company because I wanted to be left alone in a world where we can operate without distractions.” So there. Vetements, of course, stills show in Paris, like in January when the brothers borrowed an old flea market free of charge and invited guests to watch the show – styled in copious layers as a reflection of overconsumption – from market chairs already in place. “My show was completely sustainable,” Gvasalia nods. He says his commendable outlook is the result of age, of running a growing business, but also rooted in a childhood of extremes
In the early 1990s, the brothers and their family fled their native Abkhazia amidst the Georgian civil war. “When you see stuff as six years old that I don’t even want to share as public knowledge, you start to appreciate life. You start to understand that if you have to cancel a T-shirt because of a minimum, you don’t have to care. It’s not the end of the world,” Gvasalia says, raising his eyebrows. “I appreciate life because I know that things can change in one second.”